US meat processor Tyson Foods today [Monday] reported a two-fold increase in earnings for the fiscal third quarter ended 26 June compared with the year-ago period.

Tyson’s earnings for the quarter under review increased to US$161m, or 45 cents per share, from $79m, or 23 cents per share, a year ago.

Sales for the quarter were $6.6 billion, compared with $6.3 billion a year ago.

Higher chicken prices helped lift earnings, with both foodservice and retail sales up by 13% at home. The increase in the company’s domestic chicken segment sales volumes were offset by decreased international sales volumes due to the continued import restrictions by various countries caused by the avian influenza outbreaks in the US, Tyson said in a statement.

Beef sales inched down in the third quarter, while pork sales increased. Prepared Foods segment sales increased as foodservice prepared foods sales rose 10.6%, international prepared foods sales increased 2.5% and retail prepared foods sales grew 1.5%.

“We generated record sales and net income in spite of higher grains, raw material costs, and limited access to export markets,” said John Tyson, chairman and chief executive, in a statement.